Nelly and Ashanti are back in headlines and this time with a few announcements to make. The 49-year-old rapper and 43-year-old singer are celebrating their pregnancy and engagement after rekindling last fall. Between 2003 and 2013, the two were rumored to have dated off and on while making joint appearances at media events, each other’s birthday parties and a celebrity friends’ wedding.

Neither of the two ever confirmed that they were ever dating, only that they’ve always been friends. Even after their second, and, technically, most recent breakup, they reported that there was no beef despite Ashanti sharing in an interview that she’d been betrayed. That’s all water under the bridge now as the music stars have danced their way into parenthood and partnership. Here’s a Nelly and Ashanti relationship timeline. 

Nelly and Ashanti Meet in 2003

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The Scorpio and Libra pairing met when Nelly asked for Ashanti’s autograph. It was inferred by interviewers that Ashant was writing down her number as well. However, the “Foolish” singer confirmed that it actually took him a long time to get that from her.

The photo of their first meeting circulated the internet heavily and still remains a favorite amongst publications. Both artists were at the start of their careers and unsure of what experiences life would bring. Just two years after meeting, the rapper and singer would attend each other’s 25th and 31st birthday parties before attending the “John Tucker Must Die” premiere together.  

The Pair Release Their First Collaboration in 2007

Not as commonly known as “Body On Me,” the duo first released their 2007 collaboration “Switch.” Their duet led to speculation from fans and Ashanti prompted even more attention when she teased details about their relationship in an interview. Describing them as good friends, Ashanti said that the two of them spend a lot of time together having fun which feels good when you’re working as hard as they do.

When the interviewer brought up the idea of marriage, Ashanti never confirmed their relationship, but did say “Definitely in the future.” Our R&B wueen claimed and manifested their reunion years before they ever thought they’d be in each other’s lives again. 

Nelly and Ashanti Break Up in 2013

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The second, sexy shared single was supposed to appear on Shanti’s “The Declaration” album, but instead, appeared on Nelly’s “Brass Knuckles” album. Three versions of the song exist today with one of them lacking his sultry songstress. And the breakup, though they were “never in a relationship,” appeared to be for real. Two years later, Nelly was preparing for the drop of his fifth album “5.0” when he was asked whether or not he’s single. He alluded to being married to his work saying that he and his album were getting married.

The “Dilemma” rapper even invited the interview host to his wedding. A month later, Nelly again confirmed that the two were never in a relationship despite attending T.I. and Tiny’s wedding together. Always describing themselves as friends, he said that both artists are married to their work.

Things became particularly official, with regards to their breakup, when they weren’t spotted together over the next few years. Rumored to have broken up a second time in 2013, Nelly began dating Shantel Jackson in 2014. 

Ashanti Speaks to Betrayal in 2015 Interview

Ashanti went onto The Meredith Vieira Show where she spoke about growth and going after what you want. While she never confirmed the reason for her split from Nelly, or, again, the actual relationship, she did highlight issues that impact romantic relationships. A mention of betrayal and growing up made fans think that she was speaking about Nelly’s actions while the duo was dating one another.

Rumors spread that the “Tip Drill” rapper was unfaithful although neither of them, nor any other source, confirmed this speculation. Ashanti did, however, claim to be in a different place so actively working towards moving on, focusing on her music and her family. The two would perform singularly at an array of concerts over the next six years before Nelly called it quits with Shantel Jackson, also the former girlfriend of Floyd Mayweather.

Ashanti and Nelly would reunite randomly and publicly for Ja Rule and Fat Joe’s “Verzuz” battle. It was the first time that the two had seen and spoken to each other since their break up. 

Their Reunion Sparks Another Joint Performance In December 2022

Nelly and Ashanti appeared at a Christmas concert together and performed “Body On Me” to a crowd of fans who received their reunion with open arms. Fans online also spoke to experiencing excitement over a possibly restored bond. Just months later, Nelly and Ashanti were spotted, in matching outfits, at a boxing match in Las Vegas where they were also spotted holding hands. They continued down the road of making their appearances when they attended a birthday party in Atlanta. This was their first red carpet event since their breakup 10 years prior. Appearances didn’t stop here: Nelly uploaded a video of the item singing Usher love ballad “Nice and Slow” to one another.

The St. Louis native went on to clear the air, saying that they were cool again. So cool that the singer-actress-model would attend the 2023 VMAs, rocking a bag with a photo of the couple from 2003 printed on the side. 

Nelly Gifts Ashanti Diamonds

In October 2023, Nelly wished Ashanti a happy birthday in an Instagram post where he described her as a beautiful person inside and out. He also said that she was a hard-working woman before finishing it up with “…love ya”. It’s the most affection that the two have shown one another publicly outside of the occasional hug or hand-holding.

Ashanti went on to express her love as well for Nelly’s birthday just a few weeks after. She gifted him a vintage 1962 Impala, Nelly’s alleged dream car. Though she found it to be so hard keeping the gift a secret, she said that his reaction made it all worth it. Fans of the couple commented on the Instagram photos, one of which insinuated that Nelly impregnated Ashanti. The rapper said that he was working on it and the duo announced their pregnancy just two short months later. 

Nelly and Ashanti Announce Pregnancy and Engagement

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In an interview with Essence, Ashanti publicly revealed her pregnancy and announced it via Instagram. The video features the artist preparing for a show and being told that “It’s showtime.” After a few questions of how much more time she would need, she said “nine months,” Ashanti looked stunning in her video announcement and the on-stage interview where she appears to be in bliss. She and Nelly are also engaged, adding onto their happiness. She shared that she’s longed for motherhood, sharing this moment with her family. So far, motherhood has been a wonderful experience according to the former princess of Hip Hop.

Their child will be Nelly’s fifth as he already has two biological children and two that he gained after his sister’s passing. We wish Nelly and Ashanti a joyful celebration of increased family ties and success in their professional journeys.